Archive for the ‘Shoes’ Category

Still feeling remorse about not getting your feet in to those Kobe Christmas shoes from a couple seasons back? Me too. Never sleep on neon feet, that’s what I always say. But lucky for us, we’re going to get another chance as the brand new Nike Kobe 8 should be getting the Grinch treatment for the Lakers’ Christmas Day game against the New York Knicks.

This pic comes from Sneaker Files, who are reporting that this iteration of the Kobe 8 will be released sometime in December, which just so happens to be the same month that has Christmas in it. Between that and these looking exactly like the 2010 Christmas shoes, I’d surmise that these are indeed Kobe’s Christmas shoes (shoutout to that terrible New Song song). Case closed.

Just like in 2010, these aren’t for everyone. If you’re staunchly anti-green feet, I can’t imagine you being a big fan. But having seen the Kobe 6 version on feet in person a few times, I’m very much on board and will be trying to get myself a pair. Shoes this crazy tend to look great with jeans, for whatever reason. Plus then your friends can call you Johnny Greenfeet, which is fun for all parties involved.

The standard Kobe 8, which will be available at retail December 20, goes for $140 and I’d expect a similar price for these. However, they’ll be extremely limited, so good luck getting your Grinch on. In fact, you might be better off just trying to get front row seats at the Staples Center that night, since all those people got a pair last time. The cost might be a bit more, but it still seems like a good plan.

UPDATE: There’s some concern whether or not these are the real shoes Kobe will be wearing for Christmas. I’ve reached out to a Nike rep for comment and will update when I hear back.

If you listened to today’s show, then you know I’ve been gone the past couple of days because I was in New York for the Air Jordan XX8 launch. And if you’ve been on the basketblogosphnet in the past 24 hours, you know the new Jordans caused quite a bit of commotion, what with their zip-up outer layer and complete departure from what a basketball shoe usually looks like.

And yeah, the shoes do look crazy, even to the point that the Jordan Brand promo video we saw before the shoe was unveiled included the phrase, “Yeah it looks crazy.” When your marketing team things your product is bizarre and then admits it, you have a bizarre product.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The first Air Jordans were such a change from normal basketball shoes that Michael Jordan was fined every time he wore them in a game and now they’re a legendary shoe. I’m not saying that’ll happen with the XX8, but first impressions don’t always stick.

Anyways, let’s talk about some things regarding the Air Jordan XX8.

That Zip-Up Shroud

Shrouds aren’t anything new for the Air Jordan line. A covering of some sort first showed up on the XVI, then kept popping up on the XVII, XVIII and XIX. Hate it or love it, Jordan Brand has a history of putting things over their shoes.

But this is pretty extreme. That outer layer makes the XX8 in to an 8-inch tall shoe, which is the tallest basketball shoe on the market. They’re partly inspired by military boots and Gary Payton’s “The Glove” (which was designed by Josh Heard, who also worked on the XX8), but it’s like they figured people liked the height and coverage of those two shoes, so they combined them and exaggerated the result. It is, to say the least, an interesting look.

When the first pictures from the event popped up, the reaction wasn’t great. A wall full of 8-inch tall, plain black shoes is strange, especially coming from a signature line famous for being the coolest shoes in the game. Zipped all the way up, the XX8 kind of looks like a spatted football cleat, which is odd for a basketball shoe.

But the look will change. Jordan Brand has said they will have more colorways of this shoe than any Air Jordan before it. Lead designer Tinker Hatfield has teased the idea of sublimating graphics on that plain upper, and I’ve heard rumors from bamboo to custom graphics to printed versions of old Jordans. Who knows what will actually come to pass, but the possibilities are there.

(Also, and I admit this is weird, but these look pretty slick with a pair of slim, black pants. You will just have to trust me on this one.)

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Those right there are Amir Johnson’s custom Nike Huarache 2K4s. How do I know, besides the fact that I am the one writing this and therefore can control how things will end? It’s simple — his face is on them. Really.

Just looking at the illustration, I suppose you could make the argument that these are JaVale McGee’s or Andre 3000′s shoes. But we’ll just have to trust that these really do belong to Amir Johnson, since he’s the one who posted them and wore them during the Raptors’ season opener. This guy’s a regular Tracy McGrady.

If only they would have included exquisite zombie makeup, then we could truly be sure these are Amir’s. Considering last night was Halloween, that would have been a smart idea. Maybe next time.

Just so you know, Mark Cuban is a guy who cares about comfort — that should go on his tombstone, by the way, “Mark Cuban: A Guy Who Cares About Comfort” — and that extends from his basketball-themed football jerseys to his baggy toed shoes. And if you’re wondering where the “roomy toe area” that he values so much, it’s right there in the toe area.

Seems like a pretty good spot for that roomy toe area. At the very least, it certainly makes more sense than skinny jeans. I mean, if Mark Cuban doesn’t “get” them, who can?

As a bro who has been known to wear a pair of brightly colored sneakers from time to time, I’m well aware of how easily noticed a super colorful shoe can be, particularly when one is in a bathroom stall. That is kind of the point (not the bathroom part). Marc Gasol knows what I’m talking about, as he took the court wearing a pair of bright pink shoes for the first half of last night’s Grizzlies-Magic preseason tilt. Only he did it for a good cause, not just to look cool.

Those shoes up there are the Nike Air Foamposite One “Polarized Pink” edition, which aren’t yet available in North America but soon will be, and that’s what was on Marc’s feet for the first half of last night’s game in an effort to raise awareness for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pretty cool, especially coming from a player who’s not known for flashy looks or being a guy who looks like he’d wear pink very often. Ergo, you know it must mean something to Marc Gasol if he’s going to play basketball in a pair of pink shoes.

Marc only played one half in the Foamposites before switching to a pair of white and black Nike Hyperdunk 2012s, which kind of proves that he was just doing it for a reason. It’s a small gesture, but that doesn’t mean it’s insignificant.

Growing up, the strangest material I had on a pair of shoes was some denim on a pair of University of Kentucky Cons Blues. That being said, I never won an NBA title, so that’s probably why I never had the cork hookup that LeBron James is getting.

What you see up there is the latest iteration of the Nike LeBron X and it has a genuine cork upper that’s inspired by the champagne bottles that Chris Bosh was popping and then pouring on his own face after last season’s championship. Or maybe just champagne bottles in general, as Chris Bosh would be a strange inspiration for a LeBron James shoe, even though a tongue that darts around like Bosh’s would be a genius idea.

Either way, I think they look great. I don’t know if the cork makes them floaty or if you could use these to hold your extra oboe reeds in a pinch, but I do like the idea of honoring LeBron’s first championship by doing something that you don’t see every day. The easy way out would be making gold shoes and calling them “Larry O’Briens” or something like that. This is different and it actually looks pretty cool, so two thumbs up from me.

Plus, if push pin comes to shove, you can use these to make an inspiration board. I’m sure you’ll get that Adirondack chair someday. The shoes release in December and there are a couple more shots after the jump. Let’s hear what you think in the comments.

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Sometimes a story comes along that is so perfectly tailored to your interests that you just have to let it tell yourself. That’s the case right now.

It’s about the time Boyz II Men wore Air Jordan XIs to an award show and how everyone, Michael Jordan included, loved it. From Nice Kicks:

Nice Kicks: Obviously, you guys are known for the incredible hits you consistently came out with during the 90s, but the sneaker world credits you for one of the most iconic moments of the Air Jordan 11. What do you remember most about wearing Concords on the Grammy stage?

Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men: I can tell you the exact story MJ told us. Around 95-96, Jordan came out with the Concord 11s, and when they first came out, Jordan told us that the people over at Nike were not big fans of the 11, initially. Jordan had to convince them that the 11s would be great. He told them that one day an entertainer is going to wear those kicks with a tuxedo or something like that because of the patent leather toe. It makes sense because patent leather shoes are often worn with tuxedos. Lo and behold, the day of the Grammy’s, the guys and I came out in White Sox baseball caps, tuxedos and Jordan 11s. MJ saw it and was like, ‘Yo, this is crazy!’ He was a big fan of the group even before that, so when we finally met up with each other, he told us this story that I’m telling you now and how Nike really didn’t like the 11 when it was initially produced. From that meeting, we became really good friends. Since then, we’ve been getting Jordans on the regular because of that. I pretty much have every single Jordan that has come out since that meeting.

That’s good enough, but if you believe Tinker Hatfield’s (the shoe’s designer and a legend in his field) account of MJ’s response, it’s even better. From Counter Kicks:

After the Boyz II Men performance, Michael Jordan, ever the competitive spirit, placed a call to Tinker Hatfield directly. He opened with the simple line: “I told you so, motherf—er.”

Easily the best story about iconic basketball shoes worn by a male vocal group. I’m sure you agree.